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Challenges of modeling current very large lahars at Nevado del Huila Volcano, Colombia


Worni, R; Huggel, C; Stoffel, M; Pulgarín, B (2012). Challenges of modeling current very large lahars at Nevado del Huila Volcano, Colombia. Bulletin of Volcanology, 74(2):309-324.

Abstract

Nevado del Huila, a glacier-covered volcano in the South of Colombia’s Cordillera Central, had not experienced any historical eruptions before 2007. In 2007 and 2008, the volcano erupted with phreatic and phreatomagmatic events which produced lahars with flow volumes of up to about 300 million m3 causing severe damage to infrastructure and loss of lives. The magnitude of these lahars and the prevailing potential for similar or even larger events, poses significant hazards to local people and makes appropriate modeling a real challenge. In this study, we analyze the recent lahars to better understand the main processes and then model possible scenarios for future events. We used lahar inundation depths, travel duration, and flow deposits to constrain the dimensions of the 2007 event and applied LAHARZ and FLO-2D for lahar modeling. Measured hydrographs, geophone seismic sensor data and calculated peak discharges served as input data for the reconstruction of flow hydrographs and for calibration of the models. For model validation, results were compared with field data collected along the Páez and Simbola Rivers. Based on the results of the 2007 lahar simulation, we modeled lahar scenarios with volumes between 300 million and 1 billion m3. The approach presented here represents a feasible solution for modeling high-magnitude flows like lahars and allows an assessment of potential future events and related consequences for population centers downstream of Nevado del Huila.

Abstract

Nevado del Huila, a glacier-covered volcano in the South of Colombia’s Cordillera Central, had not experienced any historical eruptions before 2007. In 2007 and 2008, the volcano erupted with phreatic and phreatomagmatic events which produced lahars with flow volumes of up to about 300 million m3 causing severe damage to infrastructure and loss of lives. The magnitude of these lahars and the prevailing potential for similar or even larger events, poses significant hazards to local people and makes appropriate modeling a real challenge. In this study, we analyze the recent lahars to better understand the main processes and then model possible scenarios for future events. We used lahar inundation depths, travel duration, and flow deposits to constrain the dimensions of the 2007 event and applied LAHARZ and FLO-2D for lahar modeling. Measured hydrographs, geophone seismic sensor data and calculated peak discharges served as input data for the reconstruction of flow hydrographs and for calibration of the models. For model validation, results were compared with field data collected along the Páez and Simbola Rivers. Based on the results of the 2007 lahar simulation, we modeled lahar scenarios with volumes between 300 million and 1 billion m3. The approach presented here represents a feasible solution for modeling high-magnitude flows like lahars and allows an assessment of potential future events and related consequences for population centers downstream of Nevado del Huila.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:28 Dec 2012 10:26
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 17:22
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0258-8900
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-011-0522-8

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